If you have ever used analgesics in your massage office, had them used on you, or sold them in your office, you are most likely aware of the industry leader in cryotherapy – Biofreeze. But Biofreeze is not the only option on the market. Sombra is another cryotherapy option for massage therapists that you may have seen in your massage industry magazine, or had slipped in your massage convention goodie bag.
So, which is better? What else is out there? Here is a very quick review of their products and where you can purchase them for your office.
I will attempt to compare apples to apples here. Biofreeze is commonly listed as a type of cryotherapy and pain relief so I will compare that to the Sombra Cool Therapy Pain Relieving gel. Sombra also makes a warm therapy gel.
Sombra Active ingredient – Menthol, USP 6.0% (External Analgesic)
BiofreezeActive ingredients – Natural Menthol USP 3.5% (Cooling Pain Reliever)
Sombra Inactive Ingredients – Aloe vera extract, carbomer, decyl polyglucose, deionized water, grapefruit seed extract, green tea extract, lemon peel extract, queen of the prairie extract, rose water, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate (preservative), vegetable glycerin, witch hazel, yucca extract.
Biofreeze Inactive Ingredients – carbomer, FD&C blue #1, FD&C yellow #5, glycerine, herbal extract (Ilex paraguariensis), isopropyl alcohol USP, methylparaben, natural camphor USP (for scent), propylene glycol, silicon dioxide, triethaolamine (TEA), purified water USP
Like Soothing Touch, Sombra also hails from the “Land of Enchantment” –New Mexico. (Here is my of Soothing Touch) Sombra does not have the widespread availability of Biofreeze. Unlike Biofreeze, you can not pick it up at your local Walmart, but Amazon allows it to be delivered to your door.
It has a lemon scent. And, yes, there is an underlying medicinal scent that many analgesics have, including Biofreeze. Sombra contains no artificial colors, fragrances, or alcohol. What I really liked is the fact that the “gel” is actually a lotion. From a massage therapy standpoint, this is a huge plus. It allows you to massage it on and work a little if need, not too long though, it does absorb quickly.
Performance Health, Inc. is the owner of Biofreeze. They are based out of Ohio (the first state to regulate massage therapy). Performance Health is also the owners of Theraband.
Biofreeze has been on the retail shelves of many chiropractors and massage therapists for years. It is typically one of the top retail sellers for massage professionals. Recently, I have seen that it for sale in most pharmacies and large retail stores. So, if you need something today, Biofreeze will be your best option.
Biofreeze absorbs quickly, very quickly. Classic Biofreeze has very little workability, which is great and ideal in certain circumstances. Typically, I find it is perfect to apply at the very end of a massage. However, they now make a cream version that has more workability. Biofreeze is available in many application forms: tubes, a roll-on, sprays, single application packets, and patches). Performance Healthy makes terrific marketing and displays for massage therapists that choose to sell Biofreeze in their offices.
Honestly, I cannot choose one. As far as actual pain relief performance, I feel they are even. Truthfully, I prefer the ingredient list of Sombra and really like its workability. Biofreeze has so many options for easy application and will always be a favorite for massage therapists and chiropractors. So, take your pick!
These are just two of many analgesics on the market. There are other effective products I did not cover above that you may want to look into to see if they are right for you or your clients.